DRIVEN, or: Help, my Uber Passenger is Being Chased by Frigging Demons

Driven arrives on DVD and Digital June 16 from Uncork’d Entertainment.

Casey Dillard wrote and stars in a film by Glenn Payne, co-starring Richard Speight Jr (“Supernatural”, “Band of Brothers”), Jessica Harthcock (Ender’s Game), Nicholas Roylance (“Punishment!”), Andy Field (Avengers : Endgame), Bill Luckett (Battlecreek), and Leah Hudspeth (“The Resident”).

I watched two movies this week about Uber drivers getting pulled into dangerous and unwanted missions by cantankerous passengers. One was the big studio action-comedy Stuber, the other a very small, lower-budget horror-comedy film that practically no one’s heard of, called Driven.

Casey Dillard plays Emerson, a driver who cabbies to pick up much-needed cash, and also to escape her home life in a crummy apartment with bad plumbing. She’s accustomed to having terrible people as her fares, but Roger (Richard Speight Jr.) is the worst yet: belligerent, rude, and extremely nervous and secretive about… whatever it is he’s up to, making her drive from place to place in the middle of the night.

Turns out Roger’s the descendant of a cursed bloodline and waging a war with demons (for lack of a better term); essentially possessed people — the malevolent force struck me as a bit reminiscent of the vengeful spirit in It Follows. The story goes pretty much as you’d expect (and, in its defense, the same way Stuber does); she wants no part of it, tries to remove herself from the situation, and gets pulled in by her argumentative and overbearing passenger anyway.

Where Driven has a bit of extra empathy is in its female character: Emerson is a female driver stuck in the car with a shouty male passenger — already a bad and unsafe situation. As Emerson and Roger get to know each other and bond throughout a night of demon hunting, we learn more about both characters, their quirks, and the challenges they each face, as they also come to a mutual understanding and appreciation for each other — with some funny dialogue and recurring jokes along the way.

This is a solid watch — decently funny and enjoyable, and I definitely like the overall premise. The demon stuff isn’t particularly scary, but it’s serviceable (depicting the demons was probably the biggest budget constraint — they basically register as growly people, whereas some additional effects work could’ve better sold their supernatural angle.)

A/V Out.

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